The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations has declared that achieving 1.5 degrees of global warming is now almost impossible. If immediate actions are not taken 2 degrees of global warming could what the next generation will be witnessing. The consequences of 2 degrees of global warming are beyond the capacity of planet Earth to offer humanity a sustainable life! The time is right now, to reflect on the cause and to find the solutions before it is too late. The most important challenge will be to fulfil the energy requirements without consuming fossil fuels.
Despite the focus on hydropower in Nepal, dependence on petroleum products has been increasing at an alarming rate. In the year 2022, Nepal spent more than 3 Billion USD to import petroleum products, which amounts to 19% of the total energy demand of the nation, and worth 15% of the country’s GDP escaping in USD. While the contribution of electricity to the net energy demand of the country has been consistent at 4%, coal is threateningly increasing its share by 1% each year and has captured 9% of the net energy supply to the country. On the other hand, Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN), has forecasted to lose about 250 Million USD due to electricity being unutilized in the monsoon season of 2023.
Several countries like USA, China, India, and EU have started mega projects to introduce Green Hydrogen as the driver for Energy Transition and Green Growth. The falling price of renewable electricity and rapid development in Green Hydrogen technologies, have made green hydrogen a ‘politically driven clean fuel against climate change to achieve net zero carbon goals’. It is expected that the global market induced by Green Hydrogen could reach up to 12.5 Trillion USD by 2050. With green electricity from hydropower 24/7 and glacier-melted water, Nepal has a competitive advantage for the production of Green Hydrogen and itsderivate. The potential to replace fossil files locally and opportunities to establish new energy-intensive hydrogen-based process industries can attract huge investments, which have the ability to transform the landscape of the country in a short time.
Government of Nepal has started to make necessary policies and priorities for establishing green hydrogen-based industrial and commercial projects in Nepal. Kathmandu University has been contributing as a member of several high-level government committees to develop recommendations and policy guidelines for introducing green hydrogen projects in Nepal. Recently, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has made a public announcement for driving a Hydrogen car soon. The President has made an announcement to the Parliament about the adoption of Green Hydrogen in the country as part of the National Annual Plans. Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation has already drafted the National Policy on Production and End Use of Hydrogen, which is expected to be activated very soon.
More to note, during the recent visit to India, the Prime Minister Dahal, after signing an agreement to export 10,000 MW of hydropower to India and build new pipelines to import petroleum to Nepal, has given this statement. ”… His interest was a little more focused on the fact that it should be developed very quickly to move from clean energy to hydrogen energy. Perhaps that’s why he said – it will go to the heights of the Himalayas. Clean energy is a very important element for hydrogen energy. Because of that, since we have abundant clean energy and now we need it to transform it into hydrogen energy, I thought that both of us felt the cooperation between our two countries….”
The Project Ideation document on “Hydrogen for Development in Nepal is an initial but important document prepared by Green Hydrogen Lab, Kathmandu University (KU). This document is an attempt to consolidate the research achievements so far on Green Hydrogen by KU with a focus on establishing foundations for commercial projects in the future.
The document shows Green Ammonia, Green Urea, Green Steel, Green Cement, and Green Transportation are major areas to expand the energy business in Nepal. The main objective will be to use increasing hydropower production and reduce the excessive consumption of fossil fuels and create a local green economy and employment. (Based on KU Report)